Polish ex-priest sentenced to prison for abusing minors

Polish ex-priest sentenced to prison for abusing minors

Home Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:6PM

A Polish court has sentenced a former priest to seven years in prison after finding him guilty of sexually abusing children in the Dominican Republic and Poland.

On Wednesday, the court in the western Polish city of Wolomin, near the capital city of Warsaw, sentenced Wojciech Gil to prison for abusing six minors in the Caribbean nation between 2009 and 2013 and two in Poland in 2000 and 2001.

The court also charged Gil with possession of child pornography and illegal possession of a gun.

The 37-year-old had pleaded not guilty but settled for a seven-year prison term, which avoided a full trial and a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Gil was also ordered to pay a total of 155,000 zlotys (38,000 euros; USD 41,000) in compensation to the victims.

Prosecutors represented victims from both Poland and the Dominican Republic. Warsaw does not have an extradition agreement with Santo Domingo, making it impossible to hold a trial in the Caribbean nation.

The former clergyman has been under arrest since February 2014, and was defrocked last month at his own request.

His sentence came nearly two weeks after another Polish court sentenced a 44-year-old priest, identified only as Pawel K., to seven years in jail for sexually abusing underage boys.

The Roman Catholic Church has been hit by numerous scandals in the US and Europe in the past few years, involving allegations of covering up the sexual abuse of children by priests to protect pedophiles and its own reputation.

More than 4,000 US priests have faced sexual abuse allegations since the 1950s, in cases involving more than 10,000 children. All the other allegations were made by adults who said they were abused as minors.

Some theologians have argued that the church’s policy on celibacy fosters sexual dysfunction and abusive behavior among priests.

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